Matthew 4 tells us about Jesus being led into the wilderness by the Spirit, where he was tempted by the devil. So was that specifically the purpose of going into the wilderness? So the devil could tempt him? He spent 40 days and 40 nights there. He became very hungry. Obviously.
During that time, guess who came along? Satan. The tempter. The devil. The chief opposer of God. The number one enemy of God. And he tried to convince Jesus to tell the stones to become loaves of bread, so he could eat. He tried to get Jesus to break that fast. And Jesus refused. He said no, people live by every word that comes from the mouth of God. So when Satan realized that temptation wasn’t going to work, he took Jesus to Jerusalem. The holy city. And he took him to the highest point of the temple. He challenged Jesus. He said. If you’re the Son of God, then jump off this high point of the temple. And Satan had the nerve to quote Scripture to Jesus by saying he will order angels to protect you and they will hold you up with their hands, so you won’t even hurt your foot with a stone. Jesus responded right back and quoted Scripture, as well. The Scriptures also say you must not test the Lord your God.
Jesus put Satan in his place by reminding him that Jesus himself was God. And you don’t tempt God.
Satan still wasn’t satisfied. He took Jesus to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world. He showed him all the glory those kingdoms possessed, because kingdoms prove power. Each kingdom has a leader. And each leader is powerful. Satan told Jesus that he will give all the kingdoms to Jesus, if only he would just kneel down and worship Satan. So Satan was asking Jesus, the Son of God. God himself. To worship Satan, who had fallen from God’s grace. Satan, once an angel tried to be God, and God banished him from heaven. So Satan now was asking God to worship him. The nerve.
So Jesus commanded Satan to get out. And he quoted yet another Scripture to Satan. You must worship the Lord your God and serve only Him. So the devil left him. The angels then came and took care of Jesus.
And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one. Matthew 6:13
To read the entire story of Jesus’ temptations, read Matthew 4:1-11.
When I read these short eleven verses, it lets me know that when I am tempted I too can resist Satan’s advances and evil schemes. What it tells me is that I need to know Scripture, so I can push back and throw God’s Word into Satan’s face. I need to have my heart and mind filled with God’s Word so I know how to respond to Satan. If I don’t know Scripture, how do I rebuff Satan’s advances? It’s no wonder we give in to temptation so often, because we don’t fight it. We need to fight temptation. We need to fight Satan. And that fight only comes if we are in God’s Word. If we are reading and studying the Scripture. Jesus knew these Scriptures. He learned them, the same as all Jewish boys.
So at those times when Satan was there pushing Jesus’ buttons, saying oh, I’ll give you this if you’ll just bow down to me. Or oh. I’ll give you all of these kingdoms if you only worship me. And Jesus was able to rebuff him. To push him away. Because he was centered in the Word of God. Oh. We may say well it’s because he is already God, so he already knew Scripture. He could rebuff these advances because he was God himself. But Jesus was human. When he was born into the world, he was a newborn baby. Helpless. Needy. He couldn’t talk or walk. He couldn’t care for himself. He was a human baby, and his mother had to care for him. And Mary and Joseph taught him. He was treated as any child, and he had all human emotions. He learned to resist temptation. Yes, he was a perfect child, but he was human.
Jesus had a choice to make. When he was in the Garden of Gethsemane before he was arrested, he was asking his Heavenly Father to remove this burden of physical sacrifice from him. He asked to be released from death on the cross. He knew the physical pain it would cause. And he begged for his life. And his heavenly Father said no. Jesus knew what it was like to suffer physical pain. He experienced the same temptations and desires we face. He was able to withstand those temptations that Satan threw at him. And he said no.
We, too, can say no. We must have our heart right with God and be willing to face the evils Satan may throw at us. God is bigger than Satan. God’s Word is holy and perfect. God’s Word can be the binding that strengthens us as we face temptation. We must hold God’s Word in our hearts.
Once that temptation is removed, we can be spiritually cared for. Jesus will draw close to us as we draw close to him. It’s only done by reading Scripture, saying no to Satan’s temptations and wily ways trying to convince us that he can give us anything we want. That isn’t true. Jesus is our only hope. Jesus is our only salvation. Only he can save us from our sins. Let’s stand in his strength.
I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalms 119:11